The Vigil Of Saint Mark Or Fatal Superstition





Rebecca was the fairest maid

That on the Danube's borders play'd;

And many a handsome nobleman

For her in tilt and tourney ran:

While she, in secret, wished to see

What youth her husband was to be.



Rebecca heard the gossips say,

"Alone, from dusk till midnight, stay

Within the church-porch drear and dark,

Upon the Vigil of St. Mark;

And, lovely maiden, you shall see

What youth your husband is to be."



Rebecca, when the night grew dark,

Upon the Vigil of St. Mark,

Observ'd by Paul, a roguish scout,

Who guess'd the task she went about,

Stepp'd to St. Stephen's church to see

What youth her husband was to be.



Rebecca heard the screech-owl cry,

And saw the black-bat round her fly;

She sat till, wild with fear at last,

Her blood grew cold, her pulse beat fast;

And yet, rash maid, she stopp'd to see

What youth her husband was to be.



Rebecca heard the midnight chime

Ring out the yawning peal of time,

When shrouded Paul, unlucky knave!

Rose, like a spectre from the grave,

And cried--"Fair maiden, come with me,

For I your bridegroom am to be."



Rebecca turned her head aside,

Sent forth a horrid shriek--and died;

While Paul confess'd himself in vain

Rebecca never spoke again.

Ah! little, hapless girl, did she

Think Death her bridegroom was to be.



Rebecca, may thy story long

Instruct the giddy and the young!

Fright not, fond youths, the timid fair:

And you, too, gentle maids, beware;

Nor seek, by dreadful arts, to see

What youths your husbands are to be.





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